31 DAYS OF ASIAN AUTHORS, DAY 29: Rebecca Wei Hsieh

Name: Rebecca Wei Hsieh (she/her)

Website: rwhsieh.wix.com/home (I’m not super good at updating that but I’m on twitter all the time @GeneralAsian)

Asian background: Han Taiwanese (Hakka and Hoklo)

What is it about your experience and upbringing that inspired you the most to write?

I started writing (outside of school) when I was around 12, and this admission makes me cringe a little, but I churned out Naruto fanfiction with a lot of Mary Sue self-inserts. In retrospect though, I’m glad that’s where it began: writing myself into existence. Tween-me wrote fic because she decided that she could add meaning to this universe and create more of what she wanted to see, things from her imagination, with all her 12 years of wisdom. It’s kind of a powerful feeling. As I got older, I grew frustrated with the lack of diversity in publishing. There were so many stories that I wanted to see unfold that just weren’t represented. What little decent representation I got was literally life-changing. So eventually I figured, hey, the stories I want aren’t going to write themselves, so I guess I’ll just do it my damn self.

Name 3 authors and 3 books

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought by Lily Bailey

The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin (yes I’m cheating with a trilogy)

What do you think is the best quality a writer can have?

Empathy. I think it applies to any storyteller, or any human in general, really. Empathy to put yourself in characters’ shoes, to speak to the reader, and for your inner child so you don’t judge yourself or your work too harshly. But also empathy to know when to step aside, empathy to know when a story is not yours to tell.

Any last words? (Fun facts, comments, something you’d like to share with the world, etc.)

I’m also an actor, and I’m currently co-writing a memoir about life in Tibet under Chinese occupation!

Challenge: Write a one-sentence story!
She didn’t expect ghosts to follow her home, but there she was, sitting across the table from her long-dead Ah-ma.

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